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Fredonia School Board approves plan to merge football programs

The Fredonia High School football program is still alive and kicking but with a twist.

The school board voted 6-1 in favor of approving a plan to merge Fredonia’s program with the nearby Westfield/Brocton combined outfit Tuesday night. The only board member to vote against the merger was president Michael Bobseine.

The approval means Fredonia, whose program was founded in 1901, will continue to participate in the sport despite concerns regarding low numbers.

Fredonia itself had doubts whether it could get through another season alone because it finished 2015 with just 14 players after opening with a 27-man roster. New York State Public High School rules state a football team must suit up at least 16 players on game day.

If the board voted against the merger, that would have marked the end of football at the school.

The merger clears up the numbers concerns.

“I’m thrilled for the kids that enjoy the game,” Fredonia Athletic Director Scot Stutzman said. “We’re going to take a lot of time to make sure it’s done right.”

The combined team will be considered a Class B outfit, according to Stutzman and Section VI chairman Ken Stoldt.

The merger means there will be one less team in Class D. There were seven teams in that division last season.

This isn’t the only merged program at Fredonia. The school’s boys and girls swimming teams have merged agreements with Dunkirk, Silver Creek and Forestville.

Now that Fredonia’s football future is secure, Stoldt said Section VI officials can begin work on the 2016 schedule.

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